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Ninja, Samurai, Robots, and Giant Monsters

samurai museum

samurai museumThe cultural hub in Shinjuku called “Kabukicho” is home to the many different stores and buildings that embody a section of Japanese culture. Among the shops and attractions is one that stands out to tourists and those interested in the warrior culture of medieval Japan. The Samurai Museum is dedicated to these brave warriors, and inside are fantastic displays of their armor and weapons. Each artifact has a history behind it.

samurai museum shinjuku 3The Samurai Museum offers tours in both Japanese and English. They delve deeply into the samurai culture, and visitors can learn a great deal about their lives and how they fought.  Though the museum may seem small, it contains five different exhibits which displays the different parts of the lives of samurai.

samurai museum 9The Samurai Museum also offers “Tate and Iai,” a showy instruction that demonstrates the Japanese “Way of the Sword.” It is very engaging and, because of the small area of the room, and you are very close to the demonstration–so close that the blade may sometimes be only inches from your face! The Samurai Museum instructors offer bolder visitors a chance to try the “Tate and Iai” along with the instructor and experience a small Japanese battle scene! But you shouldn’t go into battle unprotected, which is why you should don the o-yoroi samurai armor before engaging the enemy. Also, make sure you get your picture taken! The demonstration occurs four times a day, at 13:00, 15:00, 17:00 and 19:00.

samurai museum 4

samurai museum 7Even if you end up in a rush and can’t take the time to explore the museum, stop by the gift shop when you pass by! They offer items such as replica swords, armor, shirts, mugs and other items as souvenirs or gifts.

And since you’ll want to upload your photos right away, they have free wi-fi!

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Samurai Museum Shinjuku Location Information

Website (English) ||| Facebook (English) ||| Twitter (English) ||| Instagram

Nearest Station: 10-minute walk from Shinjuku Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 10:30 am – 9pm (last entry 8:30 pm)

Entrance Fee: 1800 yen for adults, 800 yen for children under 12, children 3 and under free. Plus souvenirs!

“Why Go?”: What? I can’t believe anyone would have to explain this to you! Weren’t you ever a kid?

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December 14, 2016 0 comment
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Robot Restaurant Shinjuku

Robot Restaurant Shinjuku

The Robot Restaurant Shinjuku is insane. There is nothing quite like it in Tokyo, nor anywhere else. I don’t even know if we can refer to it as merely a restaurant–the Robot Restaurant is an energetic, robo-centric show located in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku. And you certainly can’t miss it, seeing that it is a huge building with large flashy lights and robot techno music blaring from the speakers.

The Pre-Show Experience

The Robot Restaurant is touristy–they know it, and they love to flaunt it. From what we saw, more than 90% of the guests were foreign visitors, mostly North Americans. All the signs are shown prominently in English, and there are a number of foreign staff that speak native-level English.

A single ticket is a hefty ¥8000, though you can get ¥500 off when buying tickets in advance from their site, or 15% off through Voyagin. A bento to eat during the performance costs another ¥1000, which must be reserved before the performance, and beers and soft drinks are another ¥500-¥600 each. There are three shows per day during the week and a fourth on Saturday (showtimes), and each show runs for 90 minutes. However, you must be in the building at least 30 minutes prior to the performance, meaning that you should set aside a minimum two hours for the experience.

As soon as you enter, you are struck by the outrageously tacky décor, designed with a wink-and-nudge of giggly self-awareness. All guests are funneled to the third floor waiting room, and from there are directed to the bar and the seats by the English-speaking staff. There was a robot-costumed saxophone and guitar player playing jazz while we waited for the start of the performance, perfectly setting the mood for the wacky night ahead. Food and drinks could be ordered from the waiting room, and the prices are what you’d expect for such a tourist-heavy establishment (Eg. ¥600 for beer and ¥1400 for an American-styled “Mega Burger”).

Robot Restaurant Shinjuku

The Show

When it’s time for the performance to start, the staff leads the guests down a staircase of lizard sculptures and tactile paintings to the performance area. The seating is cramped, a tight spot to sit for a 90-minute performance. If you pre-ordered a bento during reservation, then you’ll collect them here, or you can purchase popcorn and drinks from the staff circulating through the room. There are three bento options available–grilled boneless short ribs, ginger-simmered beef in sweetened soy sauce, and sushi. All three bento are on the small side, but you aren’t actually here for dinner, are you?

Robot Restaurant Shinjuku

The show itself is excellent. The action is loud and flashy, with a surprisingly large and varied cast of robots appearing throughout the performance. The first segment is an eclectic taiko performance, fusing a traditional Japanese drum with—well, robots, obviously! The part we liked the most was the “Robot Wars” segment, which tells us the laughably wacky story of a war between animals and the “Robot Empire.” The action-packed story between the animals and the robots was funny and familiar, almost as if the action figures from my childhood came to life off of my bedroom floor and played out their battles in grand fightin’ robot fashion. The scale of the performances is quite extraordinary, and the performers are well-rehearsed and had lots of energy.

There is a 15-minute intermission every 30 minutes so the set pieces can be changed for the next performance. During intermissions the staff circulates through the audience, selling souvenirs and refreshments. There’s plenty of time to get another drink or make that bathroom trip without missing the action, not to mention the opportunity to get one of those sweet Robot Restaurant T-shirts!

The Robot Restaurant might be a touristy thing to do, but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. It might be pricey, but you are guaranteed a fun night full of battlin’ robots!

Robot Restaurant Location Information

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Reservations Online | Get 15% off with a reservation through Voyagin!

Reservations by Phone in English: 03-3200-5500

Nearest Station: 8-minute walk from Shinjuku Station (click on the map for walking directions)

Showtimes: 4:00PM (Sat only), 5:55PM, 7:50PM, 9:45 PM. Shows are 90 minutes in duration; guests must arrive 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Estimated Price: ¥8000-¥10000 for tickets, drinks, and bento; more for souvenirs

“Why Go?”: Watch the crazy fun robot performance!

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June 28, 2016 0 comment
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Did you come to Tokyo looking for ninja? Of course you did! Why else would you come?!?!

Ninja Restaurant

The best-known enclave of most-honorable shadow warriors is located at the Ninja Restaurant in Akasaka. But finding them is not an easy task! First, one must make contact with shadowy figures in order to make a reservation. Reservations may be made up to two months ahead of time via the Ninja Restaurant website reservation form (Google translated, but usable). For reservations of less than two days’ notice, one must use the telephone device.

What? One does not speak Japanese? It does not matter! The ninja are skilled in the speaking of English, both in person and on the telephone device! Call the number 03-5157-3936 and humbly request dining space for your unworthy self! If space is available, they shall accommodate! Honor demands it!

Ninja RestaurantAnd now, one must journey to the restaurant itself. The door is hidden to the common passerby. But it shall be revealed to you! But when you discover it, the journey is not over! To learn the secrets of ninja dining, one must cross the bridges, pass over the river of ninja smoke, and brave the corridors until one reaches the ninja village. Failure is not acceptable!

Ninja Restaurant

Upon arrival, you will be seated in one of several secluded dining areas, where a server shinobi will see to your dining needs. The Ninja Restaurant offers 10 main courses, which you will have selected while making your reservation. For those who refrain from meat, the Ninja Chefs have thoughtfully accommodated with a vegetarian main course option. Do you have other dietary restrictions? The ninja have thought of this! One cannot surprise a ninja! The Ninja Chefs also offer a main course option which excludes the serving of pork and alcohol.

Some restrictions must apply to dining in such a dangerous environment. As befitting a stealthy warrior, the environment inside of the restaurant is as dark as a moonless night. Reservations including children (up to 14) may only be scheduled at 5 PM on weekdays, and one must accompany one’s children whenever they depart from the dining area. The Ninja Restaurant must be kept safe for guests!

Also, please note that normal persons are not usually not able to photograph a ninja due to their speed and stealth. But one may ask any ninja encountered to refrain from escaping in a cloud of smoke long enough for the photograph to be taken. The ninja is most hospitable and accommodating!

Ninja Restaurant

The Ninja Restaurant serves good food and provides quality entertainment (complete with vanishing ninjas). Ninja will not accept less than the best! But you may find that your money has vanished as well, as plates can be upwards of 20,000 yen. But it is of no matter! If sleight-of-hand illusions, hidden passageways, and a taste for theatrics—and good food—piques one’s interests, one must accept the hospitality of the Ninja Restaurant! There is no other choice!

Ninja Restaurant Akasaka Location Information

Website (via Google Translate) | Facebook | YouTube | Reservations Online

Reservations by Phone: 03-5157-3936

Nearest Station: 2-minute walk from Akasakamitsuke Tokyo Metro Subway Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line or Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line) (click on the google Map for directions)


Hours of Operation: Monday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sundays and Holidays 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.

“Why Go?”: You will go! You will accept the hospitality of ninja and good food! It is too late to refuse! They know who you are!

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June 24, 2016 0 comment
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